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Nitric Oxide. 2009 Jun;20(4):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2009.03.001. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

Neuronal nitric oxide synthase: structure, subcellular localization, regulation, and clinical implications.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


Nitric oxide (NO), a free gaseous signaling molecule, is involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular, nervous and immune system. The neurotransmitter function of nitric oxide is dependent on dynamic regulation of its biosynthetic enzyme, nitric oxide synthase (NOS). There are three types of NOS, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Of the three NOS, we focus on nNOS in the present review. Brain nNOS exists in particulate and soluble forms and the differential subcellular localization of nNOS may contribute to its diverse functions. Proteins bearing PDZ domains can interact directly with the PDZ domain of nNOS, influencing the subcellular distribution and/or activity of the enzyme. During the past several years, an increasing number of reports have demonstrated the importance of nNOS in a variety of synaptic signaling events. nNOS has been implicated in modulating physiological functions such as learning, memory, and neurogenesis, as well as being involved in a number of human diseases. In this review we concentrate on recent findings regarding the structural features, subcellular localization and factors regulating nNOS function. In particular, we conclude with a section discussing the role of nNOS in a wide range of physiological and pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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